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Llanelli RFC forced to cancel Welsh Premiership fixture due to lack of players

LLANELLI RFC’s woeful Welsh Premiership season hit a new low as they were forced to cancel their scheduled game against Merthyr due to a lack of players. The bottom-of-the-table team cited a combination of injuries and player unavailability as the reasons for being unable to fulfill the fixture. With only two league wins under their belt this season, Llanelli had already withdrawn from the Welsh Premiership for next season.

Contenders Merthyr were awarded five points by the Welsh Rugby Union, pushing them up to second place in the Premiership table ahead of a final regular-season fixture on 6 May. However, with the end of the season looming, the clubs were unable to agree on an alternative date for the fixture.

Merthyr had already secured a top-four play-off spot, and their final game at the Arms Park is likely to determine which side claims a home semi-final. However, the cancellation of the Llanelli fixture is a significant blow to their preparations, with the team now having a week’s rest before their crucial final game.

The cancellation is the latest setback in a disappointing season for Llanelli, who have struggled to compete in the expanded 14-team league. The club had already announced last month that they would be unable to field a team next season due to a greater demand to provide players to the Scarlets following budget cuts and likely World Cup call-ups.

The decision to withdraw from the Welsh Premiership was described as “for the good” of Llanelli and the region by Scarlets heritage director Rupert Moon. The club plans to play “competitive friendlies” next season to continue developing players for the Scarlets.

Llanelli was one of the founding clubs of the Welsh Rugby Union in 1881 and is one of the most famous names in world club rugby, producing legends such as Phil Bennett, Ray Gravell, Delme Thomas, and Ieuan Evans. The WRU has expressed “sympathy” for the club and offered its support.

The cancellation of Saturday’s fixture highlights the challenges facing rugby clubs in Wales as they grapple with budget cuts, player unavailability, and fixture congestion. With the end of the season in sight, fans will be hoping for a thrilling climax to the Welsh Premiership, with Merthyr among the favorites to lift the trophy.